Disclaimer: Aunt Sweezie's forte is humor, so all answers will be of a humorous bent. She is not a psychologist (although she has seen some...), she is not a doctor, she is not a rabbi, religious leader, Girl Scout leader, or anything more/less than an Auntie with a sense of humor, a few (many) years under her belt, and is on a quest to be helpful. Aunt Sweezie's advice may have very little to do with reality and usually has more to do with her thinking she knows it all. If she can help you a little or make you feel better, that is all she can hope for! All inquiries will be kept confidential and no real names will be used.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

In this era of Internet dating, what is the etiquette for dissuading someone who is most definitely NOT your match?  No matter how meticulous I am at trying to spell out who I am and who I am looking for, I tend to get flirts and messages from those fellows who are everything I am not looking for.  Example:  I want to meet a non-smoker, preferably a college grad, financially secure, divorced or widowed, pretty much open on the body type except for obese, enjoys the arts, books, hiking, and I need, NEED, a good communicator.  HotPoppa41 sends me a message:  U R HOT TO.  LIK 2 HERE FRM U.  HP41 is a chain smoker, never married, didn't graduate high school,  is Big and Beautiful, and his interests are NASCAR, sports, and televised sports.  And there is no photograph.  I want to treat everyone in the same manner in which I would hope to be treated, so I try to respond to all inquiries.  But what to say?

Flummoxed in Florida

Dear Flummoxed,

Aunt Sweezie would recommend:  U R OIL & I AM H20 SORRY.  Seriously, Aunt Sweezie is not a fan of Internet dating - there is too much fiction involved.  However, since the majority of the requests for guidance that Aunt Sweezie receives involves the same, she will valiantly try to steer you down the right path.

Virtually yours,

Aunt Sweezie

**************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

I met what seemed to be a nice man on an Internet dating site and we seem to be hitting it off.  However, he just informed me that he has a 'tenant', a younger, attractive woman, who he is trying to oust from his home, as she is a 'nut'.  Then he tells me that, while he offered her the room out of the goodness of his heart (she was in a bad situation when he met her), he also had hopes that there would be some 'smooching' after a while.  THEN he informs me that he had held off getting together with me while seeing how his home girl would play out.  Now, since she has proven to be a 'nut' and he wants her out, everything with us is full steam ahead.  Am I wrong to see a major red flag on this guy?

Turning Sour in Schenectady


Dear Sour,

Let me see if I understand your question.  You want me to tell you if you should be wary of a relationship with a guy who houses a woman under less than altruistic circumstances, puts you on the back burner just in case it doesn't work out - which OH SURPRISE it doesn't - and now he's all yours?  Honey, head for the exit and don't look back.

Firmly yours,

Aunt Sweezie

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

For the sake of my 4 year old daughter, I have started hanging out with some other families that have similarly aged toddlers. One of those families seems to have an electronics addiction.

Whenever we get together, it seems as if they are constantly hooked up to some sort of electronic device. Video games, laptop, cable tv, cell phones, etc. It makes me think of the Borg (I think that's what they were called) from the new Star Trek series. Both parents have their computer phone thingy (iPhone maybe?) on their person. At all times. We were having dinner at their house and - I kid you not - both parents were texting during the meal. She also texts while we are together, even when we are talking. Being that we were guests in their home, I never said anything. At one point, when she started texting at length in the middle of one of our conversations, I simply got up and said, "I'll go check on the kids".  I came back and continued our conversation.

I understand that we are in the 21st century and that numerous electronic devices are a normal part of (almost) everyone’s daily lives. I use the internet, I blog, I email, I even have a cell phone (although it doesn’t do much more than actually make phone calls), but is it too much to ask that you unplug yourself from your computerphone for just a teeny-tiny bit of time while you have guests over? Or is this just considered the new way of multi-tasking?

I don’t want to alienate this family as otherwise they seem like very nice people. I just wish they understood how rude it seems to be interrupted mid-sentence in order to text your husband in reply to his text…..you husband who is literally just outside the door in the front yard.

Sincerely,

The Apparent Luddite


Dear Luddite,

Aunt Sweezie has to know just how desperate you are for kidded friends.  Because Aunt Sweezie would have packed her kiddos up and headed for the front door at the first instance of such mind-bogglingly extreme rudeness.  Yes, these people must be the poster children for Narcissism.  Even as connected as we all must be every nanosecond of every day, there is no excuse whatsoever for this type of behavior.  None. Aunt Sweezie would recommend you keep looking for people who actually enjoy interacting with you and your child. Up close and personal.

Firmly,

Aunt Sweezie



Dear Aunt Sweezie,

I have been struggling with what I feel is a social obligation for months now. A couple - in their middle-life years - moved up the road from me some months ago. They tend to keep to themselves, although I do run into them as we walk our respective dogs along the road. They seem friendly enough, but the wife has, on every occasion, made some disparaging remark about "the locals". We live in a very rural community and, though my neighbors may be pretty rough around the edges, they can always be counted on to lend a hand or help each other out. Every time this woman says something - a prime example is, "I am always amazed they speak English" - I grind my teeth and have an overwhelming urge to shake her. I was taught by my mother to welcome neighbors; have them over for drinks or a small meal. Help them to feel at home. Frankly, I would rather boot them - he's made a few comments as well - back to where they came from. Which is not much of a step up from where they are. Do I swallow my rising bile and invite them over for drinks, and help them see the light?

Sincerely,

Seething Inside




Dear Seething,

Well, Aunt Sweezie supposes that you could invite them over for drinks and add in a local or five who, indeed, speak English. It never ceases to amaze (and consternate) Aunt Sweezie how people must boost themselves up by putting others down. Aunt Sweezie feels this behavior makes the booster very small in every conceivable way. And she would give you a free pass on this particular social obligation. People who make no effort to become part of their community don't necessarily get a free ride - or a free drink.

Sweetly,

Aunt Sweezie

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

We (meaning husband) recently brought a puppy into our lives and I'm getting more than a little disgusted at his (lack of) personal hygiene.  I've been having problems dealing with his droopy mouth parts (flews, I believe they are called).  He not only manages to collect and store copious amounts of water and drool in there and sling it all over the house, but also has an interesting habit of keeping chunks of dog food and pieces of chewed up sticks in there for deposit onto my living room rug at times far removed from the initial eating or chewing of said food.

But the drool!  Oh, the drool!  I can just start walking towards the food bowl and he'll get a trail of drool that practically hangs down to the floor.  I get an instantaneous gag reflex when I see it and can barely manage to go up to him and wipe it off (with one of the numerous sloppy rags we have strategically placed around the house).  Barring freezing weather, I've been feeding him outside in order to curtail the mess, but other than having his flappy lips surgically removed, is there anything I can do about his slimy, slippery, sloppy maw?

Sincerely,

Sick of Sloppies

Dear Sick of Sloppies,

Aunt Sweezie is entirely too fond of dogs of this particular breed (DPB) to which you refer, so she can totally relate to this problem.  Alas, there is very little one can do with DPB, other than relegate them to the outdoors as often as possible.  Which, most certainly, will create an unholy noise that Aunt Sweezie is sure will not endear you or your DPB to your neighbors.  She often wonders if there would be a market for a DPB hat with chin straps made in some super-absorbent material that can be firmly attached around, over and under their flappy lips, then tossed in the washer.  The next time you are skating over drool pools?  Hand the sloppy rag to your hubby.  With Aunt Sweezie's compliments.

Soddenly yours,
Aunt Sweezie

*******************************************
Dear Aunt Sweezie,

I shudder to have to relate this, but it needs an answer!  I live in a nice neighborhood with well-kept lawns and designer landscaping.  All winter long, I wait for the weather to warm up, the snow to melt, and me to be out there in my garden.  However, there is only the smallest of windows of time where I can be outside without being subjected to my neighbor, "Man Boobs on Parade".  Every weekend, bright and early on Saturday morning, Mr. Boobs appears in nothing but saggy Bermuda shorts and sandals.  Unbuckled sandals, at that.   He has the most unappealing physique imaginable - overweight, overhaired, underclothed.  I try to keep my head down, focus on my weeding and avoid eye contact.  I have, unfortunately, raised my head in time to see him bending down to pick something up, posterior in my direction.  Did I mention they were baggy Bermudas?  Enough said, don't you think?  Why is it that women cannot appear half-clothed, yet men can parade around in alarming nakedness unchecked or regulated? How do I get him to do the right thing - cover up!?!

Just call me
Bertha in Blinders

Dear Bertha,

Aunt Sweezie did actually shudder upon reading your description.  There is nothing that will drive one of more visual sensitivity inside on a lovely day, than the appearance of an overweight, hairy torso, zigging and zagging across their line of sight.  Believe you me, if Aunt Sweezie ran the world (wouldn't that be lovely?), there would be a generous draping of cotton (Aunt Sweezie abhors synthetics) across and over any male body without pecs off which a quarter would bounce.  However, Aunt Sweezie does not run the world (yet) - and while most of her suggestions would overreach the law (setting up a nest of fire ants in the path of his lawnmower, comes to mind) - there is, unfortunately, a limited number of options available to you.  You could set up all of your landscaping on the opposite side, so that your posterior is facing in his direction.  You could erect a tall and solid privacy fence around your yard.  If you have any kind of amicable relationship with Mrs. Boobs, you could plead your case to her.  Or you could wear very, very dark glasses. 

Sympathetically,
Aunt Sweezie

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

Last week, while standing in line at the grocery store, I was subjected to ageism!  The cashier, a young man in his 20s, chatted up the younger-than-me woman in front of me - scanning her items and carefully packing them in her bags.  As they traded chummy good-byes, he turned, looked at me, and immediately turned tight-lipped and sullen.  I am in my mid-late sixties, am attractive, was not dressed as a bag lady, and had a sizable number of groceries in my order.  I did not get a greeting.  My items were carelessly tossed in my bags.  Any effort I made to engage him was greeted with grunts or monosyllabic replies.  What is it about our society that seems to treat women over the age of 30 with complete scorn or indifference? 

Dumbfounded in Duluth


Dear D in D,

Aunt Sweezie can relate to this treatment completely.  And she thinks it's too bad grocery store cashiers don't have tip jars as a main part of their compensation.  She would have given the following tip to the surly young man of your encounter:  "Wake up and smell the coffee, Punk!  You're heading for 60 faster than you think!"  But, since the world is not fair in that respect, Aunt Sweezie can only offer you her own small consolation on the issue.  He IS heading towards middle-age faster than he thinks.   

Revengefully,
Aunt Sweezie


*************************************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

Do you have any words of wisdom on how I can get my two kids to sit down on their keesters and eat their dinner?  Vegetables and all?  It seems as if I spend most of my time arguing, cajoling, threatening, and/or replacing them in their seats.  I try to actually COOK their dinners from scratch to make sure they are getting healthy food choices.  It doesn't help that my husband feels he needs to unwind by plopping in front of the television set (on full-blast, of course) while I'm trying to get the kiddos to concentrate on eating. 

Had It Up To Here

Dear Had It,

May Aunt Sweezie start off by suggesting you pull the plug on Hubby?  Meaning the Idiot Box, of course.  Aunt Sweezie often finds herself nostalgic for the 1950s, when a family didn't have to text each other to show they cared.   She commends you for being proactive in their nutritional needs - too many parents reach for the fast way, instead of making time to take care with meal preparation.  And she wonders why the Powers That Be do not affix graphic photographs of rickets, diabetic limbs and obese forms on various fast food packaging - warnings, in the manner of cigarettes.  That would slow down the pace of Twinkie-to-mouth.  (Aunt Sweezie apologizes - it's rather a pet peeve of hers.)  Unfortunately, it seems that familial dinners are a thing of the past; a golden relic.  As far as your particular problem, although Aunt Sweezie is unaware of the ages of your children, she would recommend a large quantity of Velcro, applied liberally to the chair seats and to their seats.  Good luck!

Encouragingly,
Aunt Sweezie

*************************************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

Do you have any insight as to whom I can blame for the Machiavellian design of poultry waterers?  Did the nimrod who created this monstrosity every have to clean one? 

Perplexed in Peoria

Dear PiP,

But of course Aunt Sweezie has insight into this!  The same people who have designed kitchen cabinets that we cannot reach; counter tops that are built for a 6-footer, household appliances with six miles of electrical cords that have the sole purpose of tripping you and winding around furniture legs, stiletto heels, and girdles -- men!

Love,
Aunt Sweezie

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

We have a handful of goats on our little farm.  The majority of their diet consists of hay.  My Dear Husband recently drove five hours round trip to secure a year's worth of hay for them.  After all of that travel and trouble, the goats have decided they do not like the hay.  Ungrateful goats that they are, they nibble little mouthfuls and shun the rest.  We are not made of money.  Do I take the tough-love approach, as in love it or starve - or do I pony up more money to buy "better" hay, with no guarantee that they will like it any better?

Keeper of Spoiled Goats

Dear Goat Spoiler,

We can all see where "getting your goat" comes from, can't we?  We get our goats and then wonder why.  Aunt Sweezie does not believe in giving in to pressure exerted by anyone - cloven-hoofed or not.  Although reasoning has proven not to work with those of the caprine persuasion, trickery does.  Aunt Sweezie might suggest walking amongst your ungrateful herd, holding - just out of reach - a tempting flake of hay (you see?  Aunt Sweezie knows her hay-talk) saying things such as, "Oh, what LOVELY hay!  I don't think my goats are good enough to eat it.  Maybe WE will have it for dinner!"  Or you can artistically arrange the previously-shunned forage into interesting geometric shapes, top-dressing it (there she goes again!) with molasses.  Or you can use the term:  "Chevron for dinner, anyone?" as often as possible within their earshot.  In any case, Aunt Sweezie would urge you to stick to your guns.  As with peas and toddlers, they will eat it when they're hungry.  Besides, Aunt Sweezie is sure you have other things on which to spend your hard-earned money.  Let them eat hay - you go out and get yourself some chocolate!

Love,
Aunt Sweezie


**************************************************

Dear Wise Aunt Sweezie,

Why do I never get enough done in a day's time?  Why are my lists so long?  Why does the day end before I want it to?  Why is there never enough time for those things I feel I really want to do to feed my soul?  If I ignore the "must-dos" and take time to do things I ache to do for myself, why do those "must-dos" double in size overnight and come back to bite me in the butt the next day?

Sincerely seeking your wisdom,
Old Battered Butt

Dearest BB,

Oh, where to start?  Aunt Sweezie is thinking she should dedicate a chapter to your appeals but, alas, since she thinks you may be needing to stand 24 hours a day if this keeps up, she will address this post-haste!  Aunt Sweezie is thinking that you may be listening to a chorus of naysayers - a tired, old recording that - though having long lost its appeal - has amazing staying power.  The not-so-gentle chiding of adults of the past who felt it was frivolous to spend time on pleasurable things.  It is time to sing a new tune, dear BB.  Be it, I am Woman, Shake Your Bootie, or the Macarena, sing it loud enough to drown out the tut-tuters.  Aunt Sweezie has always felt that life is too short not to enjoy most of it, and shakes her bootie at every opportunity.

Love,
Aunt Sweezie


**************************************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

Arrrgh!  My boyfriend is the sweetest thing ever, with only one major bad habit - his addiction to his cell phone.  He is attached at the thumb to the darn thing and, small as it is, it is coming between us in a big way.  Last night, during dinner at our favorite restaurant, he had it out - lying on the table right next to the spoons!  His eyes were glued to that little screen - not to me!  How can I get him to holster his habit and be in the moment with me?

Smart Phones - NOT

Dear NOT,

Aunt Sweezie feels that someone should invent a zapper that could be aimed at phone miscreants to give them a good little zing while they inflict us with their boring, droning day-to-day affairs.  Does Aunt Sweezie care if little Billy has the worst case of diaper rash ever known to man?  She thinks not.  Aunt Sweezie assumes that you have spoken to your young man about this annoying habit and that he, as most men, has reached that point in the relationship where their sense of hearing dims to almost nothing.  Aunt Sweezie would suggest that you fight fire with fire.  The next time he dawdles over his phone while he should be dawdling over you - send him a text.  Something like:  "If u r reading this text, u r 1 step away from singlehood."

Love,
Aunt Sweezie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

My husband and I are on the verge of moving and leaving no forwarding address...with our son!  He does not have a job, he is 26, he is not looking, he is driving us crazy!  We long for an empty nest, but this chick does not want to fly the coop!  How can we get him to move in the right direction -- out!?

Pooped Parents


Dear Pooped,

Aunt Sweezie has LOADS of advice and suggestions for you.  Unfortunately, a great number of them are not legal in most states.  May I suggest the following?  Bring out your arty/crafty self and make his breakfast placemat out of the Help Wanted section of your local newspaper.  Clearly highlight the jobs he is most suited for in red, and place under his bowl of freebie oatmeal for breakfast-time reading.  Use the clear bowls.  A slightly less covert motivational method would be to tell him he can stay as long as he wants, as long as he completes a fifteen-page weekly chore list.  Top of the list?  Bathe the cat.  If all this does not work, consider a light coating of olive oil on the toilet seat and short-sheeting his bed.  He should get the message.

Love,
Aunt Sweezie

***************************************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

I live in a city, in a house, in a neighborhood where the houses are close together.  I recently moved here.  My neighbor, who seems like a nice woman, lets her dog run at night, and he tends to "relieve" himself on my lawn.  Now, having gone from rural to metro, I am not pleased about walking my dog on a leash, but I do and I ALWAYS pick up after my dog.  I was considering asking her over for a drink to get to know her better, but now I don't know if I want to know her if she is so irresponsible.  Since we live so close together, I don't want to create hard feelings either.  Any suggestions?

Trying to be Neighborly


Dear Neighborly,

This is one of Aunt Sweezie's pet peeves.  I doubt very much if your neighbor would be thrilled to awaken to little 'presents' left on her front lawn - why should she think you or anyone else wouldn't mind?  Aunt Sweezie would suggest that you DO invite this neighbor over for a drink.  At some point during the pleasant getting-to-know you period (maybe three glasses of wine into the evening?) she would suggest you exclaim, "OMW!  I have been finding nasty little "presents" on my lawn!  Do YOU have this problem?  What inconsiderate nincompoop (pun fully intended) in the neighborhood would let their dog do such a thing?"  Should the offending party not turn red with embarrassment, having been found out, and silently promise to mend her ways, Aunt Sweezie would offer that you should inform your neighbor that you intend to have DNA tests done on these 'presents' in order to track down the culprit and have him/her punished to the full extent of the law.  Then sweetly pass the cheese plate.

Love,
Aunt Sweezie

**************************************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

How did you choose your name?  And how can I convince my partner that raising chickens is a good idea?

Longing for Chickens


Dear Longing,

Aunt Sweezie's name chose her.  She is an Auntie and a childhood neighbor slapped that moniker on her and it stuck.  The older Aunt Sweezie gets, the more apt the name.  Now, as to chickens.  Let's be clear that Aunt Sweezie loves chickens.  And she firmly believes that all life on this planet would be better if we ALL raised chickens.  If that isn't enough to sway your reluctant partner, Aunt Sweezie would suggest withholding clean laundry, meals, and other domestic levers until your partner says "Auntie!"  However, if you are of a kinder, gentler nature, a sure and steady dose of persistent prompting and gentle goads may work as well.  Besides providing eggs and insect control, chickens are known to lower blood pressure and relieve stress with their perky personalities and chicken antics.  Trust your Auntie on this.

Love,
Aunt Sweezie

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

Why the heck does Google put indecipherable, unintelligible verifications numbers/words on blogger comments?  Is this some kind of cruel joke?

Signed,
These Eyes Ain’t Young Anymore


Dear TEAYA,

Yes, it is a cruel joke.  Google blogger is run by 20 year-olds who seem to get some perverse satisfaction in having the rest of us squint, refresh (and refresh and refresh), crane, and groan every time we want to leave a comment.  They are hoping that everyone over 30 will give up and get out of the way and let the young smarty-pants set take over the blogging world.  So, all you readers out there over the age of 30 – Aunt Sweezie has this nugget of wisdom for you:  EAT YOUR CARROTS!  Put the magnifying glass up to your screen – strong eyes and crafty ways are our best revenge!

Love,
Aunt Sweezie

************************************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

The squirrels are eating me out of house and home!  I’m an animal lover but, fercryinoutloud, these rodents are costing me big bucks in bird food!  What can I do to dissuade them from the birdseed buffet?

Sincerely,
No Deep Pockets


Dear Pockets,

While an animal lover herself, Aunt Sweezie could recommend a pellet gun.  Yes, she could.  You just aim at their feet and hope you’re a bad shot.  Aunt Sweezie is kidding on that last part.  Besides lacing a few peanuts with cayenne pepper, rushing out of the back door screaming like a Banshee while flailing your arms about, there is not much more you can do.  However, if you DO find yourself with pellet gun in hand and GOOD aim, Aunt Sweezie can also recommend a few fried squirrel recipes to you.

Love,
Aunt Sweezie

***********************************************

Dear Aunt Sweezie,

I have come to the end of my rope!  All winter long, my usually Dear Hubby has been clomping through the house, tracking snow, dirt and godknowswhat behind him!  No matter how many times I have asked, pleaded, yelled, he never remembers to take off his boots.  How can I get through to him??

Yours in total frustration,
Out of Patience


Dear Out of Patience,

Aunt Sweezie feels your pain.  While she does not have to contend with an Uncle Sweezie, she does have visitors who seem blind to the difference between outside and inside.  A shouted warning upon entrance may work with startled guests, but I am afraid that hubbies tend to lose their hearing after a year or two.  May Aunt Sweezie suggest that you meet him at the door with two hand-knitted boot cozies?  If he is going to traipse around the house with abandon, at least he can be useful and mop up with and after himself.  And, if Aunt Sweezie isn't being too forward, can we consider teaching your Dear Hubby how to knit his own boot cozies?  Aunt Sweezie feels men should be just as emancipated as women.  Just think of how helpful it would be to have him sitting in front of the Tube, knitting needles in hand, rather than chicken wings. 

Love,
Aunt Sweezie